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It's good to "treat yo-self." (Morally and responsibly of course!)
I used to treat myself with coffees and occasionally chocolate. My "coffee break" during my childrens' naptimes was an almost holy rite for me every day. What I didn't realize was, I emotionally depended on those coffee breaks too much just to get through the day.
This Whole 30 process has taught me a lot, but one of the most important things has been "I don't need certain foods or drinks to make me happy and less stressed." I'm not saying that there's anything wrong with coffee (or even a little chocolate) every day. I guess I just thought life would be miserable if I had to permanently give up treats that I loved (and relied on.) And I have to say, the first 10 days or so without coffee + cream were pretty miserable. But now I've been 15 days without sugar, sweeteners, dairy, all grains, legumes and alcohol and seriously, guys - life goes on. Most of the time, I'm relieved to realize that I don't even think about those things or miss them.
And I've found other ways to treat myself that are just about as good as a great cup of coffee (with cream) + a square of really good dark chocolate...
Baths. I know there are some people who don't like them, but I am a bath lover. I have fallen in love with Lush's bath products (the Softy bomb is amazing!) It feels so good to relax in hot water, unplugged from all electronics and social media, and just reflect for half an hour.
Flowers. I've started making it a more regular thing to pick out flowers for my home. It's fun to do and seeing bright flowers on the table never fails to make my heart happy.
Magazines. Making time to read a book is a hard thing for a mom to do, especially when your kids are on opposite nap schedules that rarely overlap. I enjoy picking out a magazine at the store and spending the next week poring over it, sticking tabs on the pages that inspire me. I get lots of ideas and inspiration from a wide variety of magazines and anything that makes me want to be more creative is a winner in my book.
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So now I'm going to recap how things are going as I've just finished week 2 on the Whole 30 (I totally understand if you find this heinously boring - I won't be offended if you skip this part.)
Pros So Far:
Skin. My complexion cleared up SO much in the second week. My husband's has too (he's doing the diet with me.) My skin is also softer and smoother, despite how dry our house has been this winter. I had flaky dry patches on my hands, elbows and legs before I started this thing and they're totally gone now.
Hunger. I never get hungry anymore, and am completely satisfied by three solid, square meals a day. (I make sure I'm getting protein, vegetables and good fat with each meal.) I had always been told the best way to keep your blood sugar even was to eat several small meals a day, and (for me anyway,) I've learned that it isn't necessarily true.
Sleep. The best, best, best part of this process has been how much better I sleep. It's amazing! I fall asleep so fast, never wake up in the middle of the night anymore, and wake up alert and awake. This is huge for me, after years of of struggling to "turn my brain off" at night and fall asleep, and waking up at least once every night. I have never felt so well rested, and that is not an exaggeration!
Enzymes. I have wanted to try digestive enzymes since I had to have my gallbladder removed in 2011. My digestive system went into "shock" the first week I started the diet and I was really uncomfortable, so I decided to start taking them. Now I feel great, and believe I'm absorbing/processing my food much better than I was before. I have been using NOW Super Enzymes, one with each meal, and highly recommend if you have digestive issues.
Sinuses. I have not sneezed or had a stuffy nose the last 2 weeks, which is unusual for me this time of year. Also, I have not had any more asthma issues. This makes me happy. (Matt has also noticed a lot less sinus stuffiness/drainage.)
Weight. This process was never about weight loss for me, but as a happy bonus I have lost a pants size in just 2 weeks. I won't weight myself until the 30 days are up, but I'm happy with how much more comfortable I feel in my skin.
Anxiety. I always struggle with anxiety and stress management so I was curious how I would feel on the Whole 30. I didn't start to notice a difference until mid-last week. I had to drive to Grand Rapids by myself with the kids and would normally be scared to death driving somewhere in heavy traffic where I'm not familiar with my surroundings, but I handled it much better than I thought I would.
So on to the negatives...
Boring food. I am pretty bored with chicken, eggs, sweet potatoes and broccoli. A handicap I've had since starting this thing is that I can't eat raw foods. I have been having weird oral allergic reactions whenever I eat anything raw since October. The point of doing this diet was the hope that it would help calm my out-of-whack immune system down, but for the duration I've been staying away from salads and raw fruits. I have to cook everything, and it's a lot of work.
CABIN FEVER. It's too stressful to go out to eat and worry about accidentally eating something not compliant with the diet, so we've been sticking close to home the last couple of weeks. I miss getting out. I miss going out for coffee and breakfast. I'm sick of being cooped up in the house, especially on the weekends.
Cravings. Most of the time, I really don't miss the forbidden food, but when I'm having a bad day I still find myself yearning for an Italian cappuccino or a square of dark chocolate. These cravings are always worse on the weekends, when I just want to get out.
Energy. While my energy levels seem to be (sloooowly) crawling back up, they're still too low for my liking. I haven't been working out as much as I would like to. I don't like feeling like I'm ready for bedtime at 5pm.
Overall, I'm feeling really good and have seen a lot of cool improvements in my health and well being. Not only has it been good for me physically, it's also been good for me emotionally and spiritually. It was the perfect time to do something this extreme and I'm proud of Matt and I for getting this far on the diet. It's my hope that we'll see even more improvements by the end of the 30 days.